League Football in Malaysia
The Malaysian Super League is the top flight of football in Malaysia. It replaced the M-League as the highest division a professional football team in Malaysia can participate in.
Introduced in 2004, the Malaysian Super League catered only to the top eight football teams in the country. The bottom two teams at the end of the season are usually relegated to the Malaysian Premier League. The Football Association of Malaysia also decided to privatize the league and created MSL Sendirian Berhad (or MSL Private Limited) to oversee the marketing aspects of the game.
Constant Format Changes
The reasons given for the formation of MSL was the need to improve the standard of football in Malaysia. However, MSL was criticized by local press. Many called it a variation of the older M-League but with fewer teams in the top division. Many also disagreed with the fact that the league format changed almost annually and it is a problem which persists until today. The FAM has decided MSL will undergo another change next season. Beginning in 2007, MSL will consist of 14 teams - a reverse from their
earlier contentions that MSL would focus on quality and not quantity.
The professionalism of some teams have also been questioned. Most MSL teams view foreign players as a neccesity and as a result, most teams usually fill up their rosters with unknown foreigners. Malaysian teams usually sign foreigners based on their credentials alone or based on performances during trials. It is not uncommon for foreign players to be released after just two or three matches or be kept on the sidelines for an entire season.
Even so, these unknown foreigners are heads and shoulders ahead of most local players. Of the ten top goalscorers in the MSL for the current season,
only one is a Malaysian, Mohd Hardi Jaafar and even he occupies the 10th spot.
Despite MSL's aim to improve the standards of football in Malaysia, the
national squad remains behind
Cape Verde and only marginally ahead of
St. Lucia in the
FIFA World Rankings.
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